Perikatan Nasional was Dr M’s idea, claims Azmin
(FMT) – Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali claims that the formation of Perikatan Nasional was the idea of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In an interview with The Star, Azmin said the idea was aimed at ensuring Mahathir remained prime minister with the support of MPs from all parties.
“We were then trying very hard to make sure that Dr Mahathir would continue to serve as the prime minister,” he said, referring to a meeting at Mahathir’s home with six party leaders.
Azmin said he was present at the meeting with five other party leaders, namely Muhyiddin Yassin (PPBM), Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Umno), Shafie Apdal (Warisan), Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS) and Abang Johari Openg (Gabungan Parti Sarawak).
But, he said, Mahathir’s resignation as prime minister earlier this year threw a spanner in the works and had the 95-year-old not quit, he would still be the prime minister with a larger majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
Azmin said Mahathir’s resignation as prime minister threw the nation into a political crisis.
“If Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin didn’t act within that small window, someone else could have rushed to the palace and pressured the palace in order to become the prime minister. I would not have allowed that to happen.
“The only option for me and Muhyiddin then was to leave Pakatan,” said Azmin, who later quit PKR. He subsequently joined PPBM.
Still, Azmin said, party leaders went back to Mahathir and tried to get numbers to support him as the prime minister candidate when the Yang di-Pertuan Agong interviewed MPs to determine who they supported.
But they could not. In the end, Azmin said it was Muhyiddin who got the majority.
Azmin said he still regards Mahathir as a father and insists he did not choose Muhyiddin over the statesman.
In the interview, Azmin was also asked about his fallout with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, whom he had supported for a long time.
Azmin said he was not to blame.
“I have served him for 30 years. Officially for 15 years, when (he) held the posts of education and finance ministers and deputy prime minister.
“I also took care of his family when he was in prison. I thought after he was released from prison, he would come out a better person.”
But Azmin said Anwar became a “bitter person” and many have since abandoned him.
“You can see that his close staff left him and many others from his previous personal team have also left him, ” he said.